Leading place vision strategist, curator, award-winning author, consultant, founder and creative director of Urbanista
Lucy Bullivant: Biography highlights
Lucy Bullivant is a place vision strategist, curator, award-winning author, advisor and public speaker with extensive experience of collaborating with and across the cultural, public and private sectors globally.
Lucy Bullivant PhD Hon FRIBA is a leading architecture curator, a place vision strategist, award-winning author and consultant who investigates and evaluates innovative synergies in contemporary architecture and urban design between theory and practice across cultures. Through her consultancy, Lucy Bullivant & Associates, she has created and delivered more than 100 groundbreaking and popular projects of public value: educational initiatives and cultural strategies, exhibitions, lectures, books, magazines, media features, videos and public information material on priorities for architecture, urban design, master-planning and place-making.
She provides extensive specialist guidance to clients nationally through her work as chair of the Lambeth Design Review Panel, a Built Environment Expert (Design Council), as a member of the Brent Council Design Review Panel, Enfield Place and Design Quality Panel and the Yorkshire Design Review Service, and formerly as a member of the London Legacy Development Corporation Quality Review Panel (2012-13). Lucy applies her insight, sound judgement and rigour, international specialist research, writing and curatorial skills and experience. She provides expert research-led guidance, she pinpoints priorities and builds resources, enables clients to take advantage of innovative and adaptive ways of thinking and acting.
Lucy was elected an Honorary Fellow of RIBA in 2010 for her services to architectural culture globally. She has a PhD in adaptive planning from the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, London Metropolitan University and an MA(RCA) in Cultural History from the Royal College of Art, and is a Liveryman of the Chartered Society of Architects.
In the early 1990s Lucy was Heinz Curator of Architectural Programmes, Royal Academy of Arts, London, before founding Lucy Bullivant & Associates, her consultancy business working with museums and galleries, publishers, academic and professional bodies on a wide range of projects of public value: exhibitions, strategy, publications, debates and symposia.
As a groundbreaking non-fiction author, Lucy has for 30 years chronicled innovative creative practices in architecture and urban design and their shape-shifting contribution to society. Her book Masterplanning Futures (Routledge, 2012) won Book of the Year at the Urban Design Group Awards, 2014. This award-winning book is a global analysis of the ideals and processes of contemporary adaptive planning, and a second edition will be published in late 2020.
A longstanding investigative journalist, Lucy has, in addition to her focus on liveable urbanism globally for her webzine Urbanista.org, contributed to the Cities and International Development sections of The Guardian, The Financial Times, and been interviewed twice by Forbes magazine; and by ADM (Milan) and Arkitekten (Sweden).
She has given radio and video interviews to Channel 4, Monocle and other European and international tv and print media. Lucy is a widely respected and internationally read critic in the field of architecture and urban design, a contributor to Rocagallery.com, Architects’ Journal, Architectural Review and Domus, some of the world’s most authoritative international architectural magazines. She has also written for Al Manakh, published as a special edition of Volume monitoring new developments in the Gulf Region.
Lucy has given keynotes and moderated for a number of international clients, she advocates higher design standards and experimental multidisciplinary strategies countering the negative effects of globalisation, and lectures and chairs events internationally on these issues.
Watch Lucy in action
Tampere University of Technology, Finland (Re-City conference & keynote, 2017)
“Thank you once more for your excellent lecture and participation in Re-City 2017. I hope you had a lovely weekend in Tampere and a safe travel to home.”
CNN International, London (presenter of the LEAF international architectural awards 2011, staged at the 5-star Landmark Hotel, Marylebone, London)
“I work with Lucy on the LEAF Architectural Awards. Her knowledge & her hard work as a judge as well as presenting the awards in 2011 was faultless. She is always happy to help and I am pleased that once again she is on the judging panel for the 2012 award show.”
Chinese University of Hong Kong, formerly Visiting Professor, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, 2017-2019
“I recently served as Dr Lucy Bullivant’s mentor for her PhD by Prior Output at the CASS, London Metropolitan University (where I was PhD supervisor, 2010-17) based on her award-winning book Masterplanning Futures, 2012, essays and exhibitions.
Lucy has a remarkably rich, wide ranging knowledge of international contemporary cities. Her continuous enquiry and generosity with her audiences captures imaginations and future collaborators.
She draws on architectural and urban history, planning, anthropology, politics, economics, ecology, sociology and design practice to enrich her publications, lectures, conferences and exhibitions. Her energy, commitment and sound judgement means she occupies a quite singular position in a field of deep significance to the Anthropocene crisis.
We are indebted to her for our better understanding of the shift in city-making from top-down design and systems to an engaged, bottom up orchestration of sustainable creative civic life, with communication and collaboration addressing a much wider constituency than professional discourse among experts.
She embeds her consultancy approach within the possibilities and limitations of concrete conditions, benefitting from an unusually broad range of colleagues and collaborators: politicians, business leaders, academics, architects, urbanists and ordinary citizens.
I have nothing but admiration for Lucy’s work. I recommend her in the very highest terms, without reservation.”
RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), 1995-2012 (2019)
“Lucy Bullivant is a compelling, engaging and responsive speaker; she’s comfortable with audiences in a large auditorium, as well as with smaller professional panels. Often the two are in combination and Lucy handles this well. She has an ability to guide her listeners and shift their focus, from her supporting videos/photos to a panel member’s input, whilst offering historical reflection, artistic principles and practical information. She also has an interesting dynamic voice and uses it well. She appears to be at the top of her profession in experience and scholarship and is able to relay this both to experts and those who might be new to her subject.”
Collegi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC), Barcelona, Spain (Congrés d’Arquitectura, COAC, 2016)
“The presence of Lucy Bullivant caused a stir in the room. She is an author and advisor who researches processes of urban design and innovative synergies, known for her articles on architecture in The Guardian and publications including Masterplanning Futures… Bullivant defined and exemplified the new priorities of contemporary urban planning: the social equality of citizens, the diversification of land uses, the need to reinvent the infrastructure, and the achievement of ecologically advanced results.”
AIA NYC chapter (Launch event for Lucy’s book, Masterplanning Futures, AIA Center of Architecture, NYC, 2013)
“Bullivant’s presentation was like a speed-mentoring session through her very thoughtful and detailed book, beginning with the over-arching premise that there has been a “necessary evolution” from 20th-century top-down master planning, which tended towards a “cut-and-paste urbanism,” to 21st-century bottom-up “adaptive” planning. The challenges facing cities and regions today, she said, require “a dynamic relationship and equilibrium” between those top-down aspirations of the past” and “bottom-up thinking” of today.”
Department of Architecture, Royal College of Art, London
“I invited Lucy to lecture to our Masters students of architecture at the Royal College of Art. She gave the most well prepared, fluent and cogent talk of the whole series, packed with research and thoughts, and brilliantly illustrated with a generous pack of slides.”
Lucy's speaking topics
What makes a city a creative place for everybody
London, Milan, Hamburg, Madrid, Riga, Oslo, Medellín, Mexico City, Brisbane, Shenzhen (some examples of cities Lucy can talk about based on her original research)
The Hyperlocal is not just hype: new media for shared social value
How your smart phone is transforming your sense of place and opening up possibilities for shared social value
Home is where the heart is: designing homes for contemporary lifestyles
Mixed use is not just a developer’s buzz word: progressive developers of homes and their architects are responding to society’s diverse needs
What is a visionary city?
10 non-negotiable principles and values your local authority and developers need to take notice of if they aren’t already
Doing it for ourselves: how co-designing places can produce local social value
The rise of participatory design by local communities and social enterprises with local government and by themselves is opening the door to a new creative era of localism
From Urbanistas to Chicks with Bricks: being an innovative woman in a man’s world
Today’s female pioneers in the built environment – picking up the mantle from their predecessors Octavia Hill, Jane Drew, Jane Jacobs, for example, in the UK and US alone – are transforming planning, development, architecture and landscape. Who are 10 of the best, what have they achieved and what have they got lined up for the world in the coming years?
The soft stuff is the hard stuff
Culture is a key driver of innovative planning and placemaking in the 21st century
Masterplanning futures: how to plan more mindfully for the next generation
The rigid top down masterplan methods of the past are being replaced by a much more holistic and inclusive step-by-step approach with resilience and sustainability as their goal